Flannery Accounts for Counting
“He held him under while he said the words of Baptism
and then he jerked him up again and looked sternly at the
gasping child. . . . ‘You count now,’ the preacher said. ‘You
didn’t even count before.’”
What is it about words and water
that makes folks crave them so? I don’t know
unless it’s the chill, the rush and thrill
of time riding past in its mortal flow,
taking you along with it to a new
place you haven’t seen or been called holy,
called tell me your dreams ’cause they’re heaven, too.
The hope for happily-ever-after
haunts this world. You feel less lonely
when you’re part of a posse and still
your named and singular self. You belong.
The watchers whoop. The choir sings its song.
The air swells thick with the smell of spring.
And you walk in your body like a king.
-Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O'Connor